I read A Stillness at Appomattox when I heard David McCullough describe its impact on him. McCullough had majored in English at Yale and received the book as a graduation present in 1955. Reading this one of Bruce Catton’s several magnificent books made McCullough want to write history. I thought, correctly, that must be some book.
Daily Beast editor John Avlon asked McCullough about his favorite books and authors recently at the Charleston Library (video below). Among others, McCullough expressed his appreciation of Victorian novelist Anthony Trollope. (He loves The Way We Live Now as well as Trollope’s autobiography.)
McCullough also lauded the British mystery writer Ruth Rendell, who just died yesterday. Rendell’s New York Times obituary is here.
McCullough talked about favorite books and authors in this 2013 Boston Globe interview. In the Globe interview he names Henry Adams’s The Education of Henry Adams and Richard Henry Dana’s Two Years Before the Mast along with a few surprises (as they seem to me).